Reputation Management

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by Dustin // October 13 // 0 Comments

What is reputation management?

Simply put, it’s being aware of how potential customers see your business and managing and responding to it appropriately.

Let’s step back for a minute and look in on Maria’s Boutique. Maria recently opened her new store in the old downtown area. So far, she’s done everything right, and six months in, she does a quick Google search on herself and sees six 5-Star reviews. Maria smiles, thinking of the happy smiles that have walked out of her store, and closes her browser.

Then, disaster strikes. Maria doesn’t realize it, but she manages to collect a few negative reviews over the next several months. A year passes, and a few more positive reviews come in and a few more negative reviews. A customer makes a passing comment that she was pleasantly surprised by how nice the store was considering her review score on Google.

Alarmed, Maria quickly brings up her business in Google. A 3.5-Star review score? How was that even possible? She worked so hard to provide the best clothing and went above and beyond to care for her customers. Looking at the first negative review, she saw someone unhappy that she could not find a shirt for her husband. But that wasn’t fair; hers was a women’s clothing store! A second person was unhappy that the store was closed on a Monday and others were unhappy over small little things.

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Does your online reputation matter?

Today’s savvy customer often does quite a lot of research before purchasing a new product or service. After finding what they’re looking for, the shopper starts looking for the company to provide it.

Beginning with a Google search, something like, “[service provider] near me,” they’ll do a quick skim through and choose companies that are highly rated. The more ratings you have and the higher your score, the more likely you’ll be on their list.  

A low number of reviews, even if they’re all 5-star, can negatively affect you in a couple of ways.

  1. A low number of reviews can make it seem like your business is too new. Or, worse, that your level of service doesn’t rate taking the time to leave a review. Most people won’t understand the struggle of getting even the happiest customers to leave a review.
  2. Your review score is just an average, so the fewer reviews you have in the system, the more damaging a low score can be.

How To Get More Reviews

We’ve established how important it is to get more reviews, but how do you go about it? You should have hundreds of positive reviews, shouldn’t you? After all, you’ve helped hundreds or more people that love your company.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been in business for any time, you know that generally, it’s the unhappy customers that you hear from the most often. They’re also the most likely to leave reviews.

It’s not that your happy customers don’t care. They’re often just don’t realize how critical those reviews are to you and your business. If they do, they usually just forget because life gets in the way, just like for us.

So how do we get more positive reviews?

As previously mentioned, many people just don’t realize how much a positive review means to a business. Give them a gentle reminder to give feedback is never inappropriate. Ask them as soon as possible after they’ve purchased from you. You can bring it up directly at the point of sale or use some of the options later in this article.

Fixing Bad Reviews

Inevitably, you’re going to collect some bad reviews.

First, let me reassure you, having a few bad reviews isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most people understand that there are just some people in this world that will never be happy. If, overall, you have a high number of great reviews, you’ll be just fine. It can even seem a little more honest to many consumers.

If the review is defamatory, offensive, or clearly incorrect, you may ask to remove the review. Doing so can be a bit of an ordeal, and there’s no guarantee that you will be successful.

Fortunately, there is a better way. It doesn’t take much effort on your part and leaves you looking even better.

Most review sites, including Google, offer a way for the business owner to respond to reviews. You should be using this feature for every review that comes in, both positive and negative. There’s a right and wrong way to do it, and we’ll get to that shortly. But, responding to every review in the right way gives you the chance to shine. By responding to positive reviews, you get an opportunity to thank the customer, make them feel valued, and get an opportunity to throw in a little brag about your company. By responding to negative reviews, you get a chance to show that you appreciate all your business relationships and you’re willing to go above and beyond to take care of them.

Responding to negative reviews

I know it’s natural to go on the defensive when someone says something negative about you. But posting wordy responses, explaining the situation, or blaming the reviewer is a bad look for you. Instead, the best answer is a simple apology for not meeting their expectations and a personal invitation to contact you directly to discuss it.

One of two things is going to happen. You’ll get a call from the customer that will give you another opportunity to make a customer happy. In which case, you can also ask them if they’d consider updating their review. Or they’ll never get in touch. But your response will live next to their review and show anyone that sees it that you care and that you’ll go out of your way to make it right if they too find themselves unhappy.

Responding to positive reviews

Many people don’t respond to positive reviews, but you shouldn’t take them for granted. Remember how vital those positive reviews are to your business? Well, take a moment to thank them personally. They’re also a fantastic opportunity to shine a little spotlight on your business and what you do best!

Thank them for the review, call out something they said you did well, and point out that it’s something you strive for in your business. If they mentioned someone specifically at your business, or if you happen to know who helped them, you can even say that you’ll pass on their kind words.

Automation Options

I know this sounds like a ton of extra work. Fortunately, several options can help you reduce the time you spend on it, from software solutions to cut down on your workload to fully managed done for you services.

Badger Mountain Digital offers online services that allow you to request reviews via email or text automatically. You’ll be able to monitor several review sites from one central location and respond directly to reviews from a central location. You can even set up templated responses to positive and negative reviews, saving time and keeping you from giving those ill-advised responses. Find out more...

If, instead, you’d prefer someone else do the heavy lifting, we also offer review requests, monitoring, and responses done for you. Find out more...

Right now, we’re offering a free digital marketing consultation where we take the time to get to know your business needs and provide you with a comprehensive, actionable marketing strategy.

Owner and founder of Badger Mountain Digital.